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-   -   Merlin Extralight Info ? (http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=101114)

UKBROOKLYN 12-15-2011 08:01 AM

Merlin Extralight Info ?
 
Re posting this from a post I put in the Classifieds hoping someone can help..

I am in the hunt for a Merlin XL but can anyone tell me which years they had the press fit BB's and when they went to threaded.. In fact does anyone know if there is an online history DB on Merlins.. I have googled tons but can't find a definitive page...

Kontact 12-15-2011 08:20 AM

I don't think there is any Merlin information still on the web. ABG deleted all of it last year.

The XL was a late model, so it only had the pressed BB for a year or two. I think that ended in '93, but can't be sure.

Tom Kellogg of Spectrum would know, and the people at Seven might also know. Phil Wood makes spindles for those frames, so they might also have that knowledge. But really, all you have to do is ask the question before you buy - it is fairly obvious.

LouDeeter 12-15-2011 08:22 AM

I don't know the answer to your question, but while you are searching, you may wish to search for Spectrum Titanium as well as Merlin XL. The Spectrums were made by Merlin. I don't know whether all Spectrums were Extralights or not. Spectrum took the frames from Merlin, smoothed the welds and may have modified the cable routing to include through the toptube cable routing. I've owned several Spectrum Ti frames. But, the ones I owned had the pressed bottom brackets, which many people scoff at. You are limited to square hole cranksets, but I've found no other cons. Some people might think that finding replacement bottom brackets is a problem, but I didn't find that to be the case. I used both Suntour and Phil Wood bottom brackets during the time I owned the frames.

UKBROOKLYN 12-15-2011 08:27 AM

BBs
 
Knowing that Phil Wood has brackets.. puts ones mind at ease..

I will look into Spectrum Ti too.. Thanks..

Kontact 12-15-2011 08:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UKBROOKLYN
Knowing that Phil Wood has brackets.. puts ones mind at ease..

I will look into Spectrum Ti too.. Thanks..

Phill Wood has spindles. The rest of the BB is just a standard cartridge bearing set and either an internal sleave or external circlips. The tools are long gone, but many people have done it with homemade stuff.

Rob Vandemark designed the XL with Kellogg's road geometry. Vandemark started and still runs Seven, so that's another line I'd consider. Seven is back to building Spectrum's frames again.

I found an ad from 1992 that shows the pressed in BB, but that was probably the last year of those. There were lots of XLs built between 1993 and 2000 when the company was sold to ABG, so there should be a fair number to choose from. I have a '96 XL - my pride and joy.

AngryScientist 12-15-2011 08:50 AM

i'm glad you started this thread, I'm interested in more info about the Merlins of yesteryear as well. I've got an older "Odyssey" that i know little to nothing about. i know these things about my merlin

1) its my favorite bike
2) it has TK geometry, indicated by the sticker on the chainstay
3) threaded bb

i would like to know more, maybe what tubeset was used.

Merlin's rock.

beeatnik 12-15-2011 08:51 AM

This might be useful
 
http://forums.thepaceline.net/showth...n+grease+guard

UKBROOKLYN 12-15-2011 09:06 AM

Old Catalogue
 
http://www.mtb-kataloge.de/Bikekata...in/merlin94.pdf

AngryScientist 12-15-2011 09:14 AM

bad link...

UKBROOKLYN 12-15-2011 09:35 AM

Sorry try this
 
http://www.mtb-kataloge.de/Bikekatal...n/merlin94.pdf

LouDeeter 12-15-2011 09:55 AM

This is what I have in the Used Bike Buyers Guide. I stopped adding models in 1997. Not all inclusive and doesn't have any MTB info.

MERLIN: See Litespeed for current address: Previous addresses include: Merlin Metalworks, 40 Smith Place, Cambridge MA 02138 and 285 Washington Street, Somerville MA 02143. Founded by Mike Augspurger in 1986. Tom Kellogg used as designer and consultant. Also build Spectrum titanium frames, but they are finished by Spectrum. Titanium 3/2.5. Aluminum prism fork. Sold to Litespeed. Now owned by American Bicycle Group.
Models:
Road Racing 89-96 Titanium
Extra Light 92-96 Titanium
RSR 96-97 Titanium

bobswire 12-15-2011 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AngryScientist
i'm glad you started this thread, I'm interested in more info about the Merlins of yesteryear as well. I've got an older "Odyssey" that i know little to nothing about. i know these things about my merlin

1) its my favorite bike
2) it has TK geometry, indicated by the sticker on the chainstay
3) threaded bb

i would like to know more, maybe what tubeset was used.

Merlin's rock.

I had an Odyssey also but sold it to buy a CDA then regretted not having a Ti bike so I then sold the CDA to buy a Seven Axiom, great bike but too large so I sold it and ended up with a Merlin EL, couldn't be happier.
I could find very little info on the Odyssey when the Merlin site was still functioning.
Great riding frame, very little if any difference in feel than the EL other than weight.
My Odyssey.
http://oi53.tinypic.com/2cfdtnt.jpg

Kontact 12-15-2011 11:45 AM

I remember reading something once about the Odyssey by I think TK. He said it was designed to ride a little different than the standard Merlin road or XL. But I can't remember if it was supposed to be stiffer or softer. It was a more basic model, but still quite expensive even by today's standards.

Any Mass. Merlin is awesome. And the later ones were pretty nice, too.


If the XL was first produced in '92, there are only going to be a handful of them out there with the press in BB.

Cat3roadracer 12-15-2011 12:27 PM

Extralight
 
I have a 55 Extralight that I purchased new in 2001 from Colorado Cyclist when they sold Merlin frames. To this day the frame looks as new, a beautiful ride.

What is interesting is the head tube. I have an integrated headset, but the head tube is machined, not the hour glass shape that Merlin had during their integrated head tube era.

I will post a picture this evening. I would love to know more about it.

Thanks, Dave

Kirk Pacenti 12-15-2011 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cat3roadracer
I have a 55 Extralight that I purchased new in 2001 from Colorado Cyclist when they sold Merlin frames. To this day the frame looks as new, a beautiful ride.

What is interesting is the head tube. I have an integrated headset, but the head tube is machined, not the hour glass shape that Merlin had during their integrated head tube era.

I will post a picture this evening. I would love to know more about it.

Thanks, Dave

Thanks, that one piece CNC'd HT was my design; I am glad you like it. It is superior to the second generation design in every way. We produced that head tube for just a short period of time. It was made from stock that we had lying around the ABG factory. The HT was very well received and a big success (imo).

Unfortunately we found out to replace that material, there was an incredibly long long lead time... 8-18 months! So we ended up with the second generation design that was just awful in comparison. For the record, I fought very, very hard against the second design... so much so, it almost cost me my job. The first couple runs were plagued with issues, though they eventually worked and seemed to be pretty reliable in the end; even if it was ugly.

Cheers,

KP

jds108 12-15-2011 01:51 PM

Kirk,

Interesting to hear the insider's info, thanks. Agree on that hourglass design, it was ugly enough to keep me from buying one.

-Jeff

Cat3roadracer 12-15-2011 01:59 PM

That is most interesting. I will post pictures of the head tube tonight so the group knows what we are referring to. Any idea how many Extralights were made with this head tube?

Thanks very much for adding to this string.

Dave

Jeff N. 12-15-2011 02:09 PM

Send Tom Kellogg a PM. He knows all there is to know about Merlin. Jeff N.

Jeff N. 12-15-2011 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jds108
Kirk,

Interesting to hear the insider's info, thanks. Agree on that hourglass design, it was ugly enough to keep me from buying one.

-Jeff

Incidently, Chris King's new "Inset" headset will perfectly fit the "hourglass" design of both Merlin and Litespeed with that head tube design. Jeff N.

Kirk Pacenti 12-15-2011 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff N.
Incidently, Chris King's new "Inset" headset will perfectly fit the "hourglass" design of both Merlin and Litespeed with that head tube design. Jeff N.

That's not a coincidence... ;)

Cheers,

KP

Kirk Pacenti 12-15-2011 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jds108
Kirk,

...that hourglass design, it was ugly enough to keep me from buying one.

-Jeff

Me too!

Kirk Pacenti 12-15-2011 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cat3roadracer
That is most interesting. I will post pictures of the head tube tonight so the group knows what we are referring to. Any idea how many Extralights were made with this head tube?

Thanks very much for adding to this string.

Dave

Very few. I don't recall the exact number, but I'd wager it was fewer than 100 frames.

And iirc, that material was something like $90 per foot. The cost alone might have been enough to kill the design even if we could get more of it.

Cheers,

KP

Jeff N. 12-15-2011 02:46 PM

[QUOTE=Kirk Pacenti]That's not a coincidence... ;)

Cheers,

KP[/Q It occurs to me to me that Merlin/Litespeed might've possibly been slightly ahead of their time, if you think about it. Most of the dozens of carbon bikes you see
today utilize that kind of hidden internal headset arrangement. Even some customs coming from Bedford, et.al. Jeff N.

Climb01742 12-15-2011 03:00 PM

years ago i took a test ride on a merlin extralight. it was, i think, the most satisfying test ride i've ever taken. i also rode a derosa steel frame that day. i bought the derosa because in my head i wanted an italian steel frame. the derosa was fine, but the XL rode better. lesson learned: buy bikes with your butt, not your head. XLs from mass. really were something special.

UKBROOKLYN 12-15-2011 03:45 PM

And So
 
So I guess I should not worry too much about the BB.. just find a nice late 90's Lightweight 54 / 55 and I am done for life.. except I can't find one.

I just let a 55 go by on the Bay worried about the BB and because I was worried about the sizing.. thinking a 54 would give me more movement.. I am an older model 54yrs 5'8.3/4 typical proportioned geometry.

Now I am wondering if that was a mistake.

Kirk Pacenti 12-15-2011 04:05 PM

My Muse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Climb01742
...XLs from mass. really were something special.

Agreed. I've probably said it a hundred times by now, but the early 90's Merlin XL and XLM frames have had a huge influence on me.

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=100069

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showpo...8&postcount=36

Cheers,
KP

avalonracing 12-15-2011 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UKBROOKLYN
So I guess I should not worry too much about the BB.. just find a nice late 90's Lightweight 54 / 55 and I am done for life.. except I can't find one.

I just let a 55 go by on the Bay worried about the BB and because I was worried about the sizing.. thinking a 54 would give me more movement.. I am an older model 54yrs 5'8.3/4 typical proportioned geometry.

Now I am wondering if that was a mistake.

Take it easy. There is always another bike. Just take your time and the right one will appear.
Yes, I already have a Merlin CR but I'm also on the lookout for a 59cm TR or 2009 Extralight. Maybe I'll see it next week, maybe next year but it will be there at some point. And if it doesn't show up I'll just have to bike the bullet and have Tom Kellogg build a custom Spectrum to those specs (which you can always do if you have the dough).

Climb01742 12-15-2011 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kirk Pacenti
Agreed. I've probably said it a hundred times by now, but the early 90's Merlin XL and XLM frames have had a huge influence on me.

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=100069

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showpo...8&postcount=36

Cheers,
KP

kirk, i know it's hard to define these sorts of things, but any idea what gave the XLs made in mass. their unique ride quality? i've had over ti frames over the years yet none felt as silky and lively as an XL. thanks.

Kontact 12-15-2011 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Climb01742
kirk, i know it's hard to define these sorts of things, but any idea what gave the XLs made in mass. their unique ride quality? i've had over ti frames over the years yet none felt as silky and lively as an XL. thanks.

Have you tried TN made XLs and found them different? As far as I understood, the same welding, tube design and geometry went into the ABG ones. ABG actually adopted the welding method from Merlin for the Litespeed line.

bheight1 12-15-2011 05:44 PM

Or...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by avalonracing
Take it easy. There is always another bike. Just take your time and the right one will appear.
Yes, I already have a Merlin CR but I'm also on the lookout for a 59cm TR or 2009 Extralight. Maybe I'll see it next week, maybe next year but it will be there at some point. And if it doesn't show up I'll just have to bike the bullet and have Tom Kellogg build a custom Spectrum to those specs (which you can always do if you have the dough).

maybe Backcountry.com will go back to the future and re-issue a quality product designed by quality builder?

Jeff N. 12-15-2011 06:20 PM

I consider the '05 Extralight a great year for the brand. It was the first year for those straight, 1" chainstays and the wide, ovalized-at-the-bottom bracket seat tube, plus oversized seatstays. Awesome ride. Got one. Jeff N.

Kirk Pacenti 12-15-2011 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Climb01742
kirk, i know it's hard to define these sorts of things, but any idea what gave the XLs made in mass. their unique ride quality? i've had over ti frames over the years yet none felt as silky and lively as an XL. thanks.

I wish I could say. Unfortunately, I've never ridden a MA made Merlin... Being in my late teens / early twenties I never had the scratch for one. I only got to admire them from a distance. Part of the equation could be that in the early 90's the tubes were all a bit smaller than in the early 00's and later. Without getting into another 'planing' thread, I'll simply say that a slightly flexier frame may have been part of the magic feel.

Having ridden the Cielo (Ti Lugs, carbon tubes) for about 18 months, I can say it was far too stiff for my tastes. And on the other end of the spectrum was the Magia; so light it was difficult to hold a line on descents where you had to push hard to hit 45mph. If pedaling hard through sweeping turns, you could quite literally feel the chainstays load up and then spring back creating a pulsating feel that actually made the bike move around... very disconcerting.

Fwiw, Tom K. had told me on a couple occasions that the TN Merlin's were every bit as well made as the MA made frames. In fact he said the overall quality of the TN frames were better than MA built bikes of the time and that he was able to get things done in TN that MA never managed to achieve for him. I am paraphrasing a bit, but the sentiment is there... Maybe Tom can elaborate a bit?

As for the welding, I am 99% certain it was all single pass (regardless of what the marketing may have said) whereas I *think* the MA bikes were all double pass welds. Which imo, looked much better. Of course the Spectrum bikes were all made with double pass welds to get the smoothed out look Tom specified; awesome looking btw! ..... If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

Cheers,
KP

Climb01742 12-15-2011 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kontact
Have you tried TN made XLs and found them different? As far as I understood, the same welding, tube design and geometry went into the ABG ones. ABG actually adopted the welding method from Merlin for the Litespeed line.

did own a TN made merlin (can't recall the model) and a litespeed ghisallo and even a barn-visited TK designed spectrum (plus a legend). XL rode the best, with TK's spectrum nearly as good. still own/ride the spectrum. all this with the caveat that all my opinions are highly subjective and prey to the haziness of memory. :beer:

Kirk Pacenti 12-16-2011 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Climb01742
...the caveat that all my opinions are highly subjective and prey to the haziness of memory...

I know the feeling well. ;)

UKBROOKLYN 12-16-2011 07:57 AM

Wow
 
Hi.. OP here.. I am new to the Serotta forums and am kind of amazed at how this thread took off, how much interest there is in these bikes.. also have learned quite a lot about Merlins and now have cemented my desire to own one..

Thanks to everyone who has contributed... BTW I just posted a WTB in the classifieds... ya never know...

Kontact 12-16-2011 08:31 AM

I was interested to read in Merlin's 1994 catalog that they were the first to produce "seamless double butted titanium tubing". So Serotta's butted tubing of the year before must have been seamed? I know Merlin lathe turned their butted tubes, I wonder how those first butted Serottas tubes were made?

dnades 12-16-2011 08:47 AM

TrWorks = Extralight?
 
are the tr works models a replacement for the extralights? Or just a similar model?

jr59 12-16-2011 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kirk Pacenti
I wish I could say. Unfortunately, I've never ridden a MA made Merlin... Being in my late teens / early twenties I never had the scratch for one. I only got to admire them from a distance. Part of the equation could be that in the early 90's the tubes were all a bit smaller than in the early 00's and later. Without getting into another 'planing' thread, I'll simply say that a slightly flexier frame may have been part of the magic feel.

Having ridden the Cielo (Ti Lugs, carbon tubes) for about 18 months, I can say it was far too stiff for my tastes. And on the other end of the spectrum was the Magia; so light it was difficult to hold a line on descents where you had to push hard to hit 45mph. If pedaling hard through sweeping turns, you could quite literally feel the chainstays load up and then spring back creating a pulsating feel that actually made the bike move around... very disconcerting.

Fwiw, Tom K. had told me on a couple occasions that the TN Merlin's were every bit as well made as the MA made frames. In fact he said the overall quality of the TN frames were better than MA built bikes of the time and that he was able to get things done in TN that MA never managed to achieve for him. I am paraphrasing a bit, but the sentiment is there... Maybe Tom can elaborate a bit?

As for the welding, I am 99% certain it was all single pass (regardless of what the marketing may have said) whereas I *think* the MA bikes were all double pass welds. Which imo, looked much better. Of course the Spectrum bikes were all made with double pass welds to get the smoothed out look Tom specified; awesome looking btw! ..... If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

Cheers,
KP

A great big thank you for your insight into this. Between what Tom has written and told me, and your insight, Merlin becomes clearer!

This place rocks!

avalonracing 12-16-2011 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dnades
are the tr works models a replacement for the extralights? Or just a similar model?

Merlin made a race-oriented line known as the Works series. It had oversized tubing and a new decal treatment. The CR (compact road) had a sloping TT and the TR (traditional road) had a level TT.
The TR didn't really sell well so in 2009 I think that they just renamed the TR the Extralight.

I have a CR and it is a fantastic bike.

Ken Robb 12-16-2011 09:55 AM

Do I remember correctly that Merlin recommended a 180 pound weight limit for the XL? If so I'd guess a rider 5'8 would have no problem. Mr. Nix: would you be testing that limit? :)


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